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Lesson Transcript

Shira: Hello and welcome to HebrewPod101.com’s Absolute Beginner Season 1, Lesson 13 - Asking Where Something is in Hebrew. I’m your host, Shira!
Amir: Shalom, I’m Amir.
Shira: In this lesson, you will learn how to ask where something is in Hebrew.
Amir: The conversation takes place at David and Sarah’s house.
Shira: It’s between Peter and David.
Amir: The dialogue is informal.
Shira: Let’s listen to the conversation.

Lesson conversation

Peter: ?זה היה טעים מאוד. (קירקור קיבה) סליחה! איפה השירותים
David: השירותים שם.
Peter: שמה? תודה. (רץ לשירותים)
English Host: Let’s listen to the conversation with English translation.
Peter: ?. (קירקור קיבה) סליחה! איפה השירותים
Shira: That was very delicious.
David: זה היה טעים מאוד
Shira: Excuse me! Where is the bathroom?
David: השירותים שם.
Shira: The bathroom is there.
Peter: שמה? תודה. (רץ לשירותים)
Shira: Over there? Thanks.
Amir: Hm…Peter must not be used to our food yet.
Shira: I guess not, but never fear, the bathroom is near.
Amir: We thought that we would fill you in on the bathroom situation in Israel in this lesson.
Shira: Well, that’s always interesting. It’s something that people always want to know, but never want to ask.
Amir: Well, I would say that our bathrooms are similar to bathrooms in Europe.
Shira: Except very few houses have a bidet.
Amir: That’s true. We usually have at least two bathrooms in our apartments and houses. One is usually a very small guest bathroom that has a toilet and very small sink in it.
Shira: It makes it easier when guests come because then you only have to clean this small little room, instead of the family bathroom that everyone uses every day.
Amir: If you’re looking for a public toilet, there is usually one in larger towns.
Shira: These toilets are often pay toilets with an attendant that keeps them clean.
Amir: Or if you’re a guy, you can just find a corner somewhere outside.
Shira: Yes, that’s somewhat acceptable in Israel.
Amir: Yah, Not quite as acceptable as in Europe, but it’s definitely not like in the States.
Shira: Yeah, bathrooms in the shopping centers and in restaurants are free for guests.
Amir: The only thing to know about public bathrooms in Israel is that you should have some toilet paper with you in case you need it. Often when you need it, it’s not there.
Shira: Yeah, that’s a handy little tip, one I could have used a few times!
Shira: Let’s take a look at the vocabulary for this lesson. First we have:
Amir: להיות/היה [natural native speed]
Shira: To be.
Amir: להיות/היה [slowly - broken down by syllable]. להיות/היה [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: איפה [natural native speed]
Shira: Where
Amir: איפה [slowly - broken down by syllable]. איפה [natural native speed]
Shira: Next:
Amir: שירותים [natural native speed]
Shira: Bathroom
Amir: שירותים [slowly - broken down by syllable]. שירותים [natural native speed]
Shira: And last:
Amir: שם [natural native speed]
Shira: There
Amir: שם [slowly - broken down by syllable]. שם [natural native speed]
Shira: Let’s take a closer look at the usage for some of the words and phrases from this lesson. The first word is לִהְיוֹת.
Amir: להיות is the verb “to be”.
Shira: And of course, as in other languages, this verb is irregular. How could you have the verb “to be” and not have an irregular verb!
Amir: But one thing that is very special about this verb in Hebrew that I haven’t seen in other languages is that this verb is simply not there in the present tense.
Shira: Yes, it’s just not there, it’s implied and understood to be in the sentence if there isn’t another verb there.
Amir: In our dialogue though, we have this verb in the past tense, so it is there.
Shira: Right. We’ll talk about it a little later in the lesson.
Amir: The next word we want to discuss is שְׁירוּתִים.
Shira: שירותים is actually the word for “services”, but we use it for “bathroom”.
Amir: That’s right. It’s not used just for bathrooms. It can be used for any kind of services that you can get.
Shira: The word שירות in the singular form is often used when talking about government services.
Amir: You can also use it when talking about the “service” in a restaurant. You would sayהשירות פה הוא על הפנים.
Shira: Right. Amir said, “The service here is horrible.” The next words we want to talk about are the same, but one of them has a little twist. The words are שם and שמה.
Amir: Shamah is actually a derivative of sham. Sham means “there”.
Shira: And shamah means “over there” or in that direction there.
Amir: Anytime that you have an “ah” on the end of a directional word it means ‘in that direction’ or ‘towards that.’
Shira: Okay, let’s move on to the grammar section.

Lesson focus

Shira: In this lesson you will learn how to ask where something is in Hebrew.
Amir: For that you need to know the word איפה.
Shira: איפה means “where”. Asking where something is is pretty simple.
Amir: You just say איפה and then the destination that you want to go to.
Shira: In the dialogue, Peter wanted to know where the bathroom was because his stomach was upset. So he said איפה השירותים.
Amir: There are endless options that you could ask about such as איפה הבנק?
Shira: Where is the bank? Or איפה שרה?
Amir: Where is Sarah? Or איפה העט?
Shira: Where is the pen? So, it’s not just limited to destinations. You can also ask about people and things.
Amir: That’s very useful when you lose something.
Shira: So the next subject that I’m sure you’re all anxious to get to is conjugating the verb “to be” להיות in the past tense.
Amir: (laughs) Up to this point, we really haven’t had to deal with this verb.
Shira: And that’s kind of unusual because in most languages it’s the first verb you tackle.
Amir: Lucky for us, until you get to the past and the future, you don’t even have to go there.
Shira: Well, now we’re going there. Are you ready?
Amir: First, we should talk about the structure of verbs in the past tense in Hebrew. You need to know the verb stem for the past tense and then you add different suffixes according to the subject of the sentence.
Shira: With the verb להיות, the verb stem is היה and you would add on from there.
Amir: If you wanted to say “I was” you would add –תי to the verb stem, so it would become הייתי.
Shira: Here’s where it gets a little irregular, the -ah of the verb stem at the end changed to -ee before adding the ending. So if you wanted to say “we were”, you would add –נו to the verb stem and it would be היינו.
Amir: In the dialogue, Peter said זה היה טעים מאוד. The subject he used was זה because he was talking about the food.
Shira: So זה would be the same as saying הוא and הוא uses the verb stem without any ending. So the verb conjugation is היה.
Amir: That’s really all there is to it.
Shira: Once you learn all of the suffixes it will become second nature for you.
Amir: Not too bad for our first venture into the verb “to be”.


Shira: Okay, that’s it for this lesson.
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Shira: See you next time!
Amir: Shalom!


Please to leave a comment.
😄 😞 😳 😁 😒 😎 😠 😆 😅 😜 😉 😭 😇 😴 😮 😈 ❤️️ 👍

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 06:30 PM
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Hi everyone

What would be the first thing to know where is it, when you arrive a new place?

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 04:06 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Franco,

Thank you for your patience.

The issue is fixed.

We’re sorry for the inconvenience.



Team HebrewPod101.com

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Monday at 10:13 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello Franco,

Thanks for commenting on this issue!

As you might have heard, the actual recording says "השירותים שם." and not "השירותים הם שם." as written on the text besides. The version that you menitioned "השירותים שם." is actually the correct and more common one in this case!

To conclude, the 2nd phrase on the dialogue should be:

השירותים שם.

Ha-shirutim sham.

הַשְּׁירוּתִים שָׁם.

We will make sure to update this 👍👍

Thanks for bringing this issue to our attention!


Team HebrewPod101.com

Sunday at 09:40 PM
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please i do not understand why הם is preceding the word שם.

i miss something, because of present tense should not : הש׳רוט׳ם שם ?

excuse my english....


HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 07:37 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hello דן,

Thanks for posting your question!

Yes, that would be a correct use of the verb "to be".

One note - you had a little typo in "I wanted", which should be written as "רציתי".

Happy to help :)



Team HebrewPod101.com

Thursday at 02:38 AM
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Can we use this verb להיות to say we wanted to be somewhere?

אני רוציתי להיות שם.

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Friday at 09:27 PM
Your comment is awaiting moderation.

Hi Mali-mali,

Thanks for posting and or this feedback!

This isn't meant to be read as a fact, but just as the opinion or experience of the speaker and as a joke... We hope you haven't found this offensive, please accept our apologies if so.



Team HebrewPod101.com

Monday at 05:51 AM
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Peeing in public is NOT acceptable in Europe, you can get fines if you do it.

Plus, another language that has no verb "to be" in the present form is Arabic :-)

Ana shurtiy = Ani shoter = I'm a policemen

HebrewPod101.com Verified
Saturday at 08:45 PM
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Hi Kristin,

Thanks for posting on this!

Haha yes! things start to come together at this point...😄😄

Keep up the good work 👍



Team HebrewPod101.com

Wednesday at 02:34 AM
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Gadol! Makes the "eloheinu" start to make sense!

Wednesday at 10:53 PM
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Hi Abraham,

Thanks for commenting!

Great work! Yes, you got that right.

Note that "she was" is actually "hi haytah", and that "that was" (masculine) is "ze hayah".

Where is the exit = ?איפה היציאה - Eyfo ha-yetsi'ah.



Team HebrewPod101.com